Australia’s cost-of-living crisis is beginning to cost lives

This week’s report in the Courier-Mail about a man torching his home north of Brisbane – perhaps with himself inside it – because he could no longer afford his mortgage payments is a tragic story that should be a wake-up call for decision-makers with control of monetary policy in Australia.

Recently-announced changes to the operations of the Reserve Bank gloss over the immediate – and, in this case, devastating – impact its decisions have on the finances of every Australian home and business.

The RBA’s only direct mechanism for controlling inflation is interest rate rises. In this current crisis, it does not appear to be working because we are also experiencing a shortage of workers in the Australian economy: higher unemployment is also an effective break on inflation.

The most significant factor in Australia’s inflation is energy costs. The first electricity bills following a 25% increase in electricity costs across Queensland from 1 July are now going into people’s inboxes. These costs are rising because cheaper, reliable generation from coal and gas is being prematurely closed down, creating an energy shortage, and energy grids are being upgraded to accommodate the intermittent input of wind farms and household solar panels.

It’s no coincidence that the 300% rise in household energy bills over the past 20 years followed the large-scale penetration of renewables in the national grid over the same period. And what for? To save the world from carbon dioxide emissions? It hasn’t worked – global emissions are still going up. All of our energy and pain have been for nothing.

And now it’s costing lives. It’s not climate change that is the killer – it’s climate change ideology.

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